Misconceptions: "It can wait."
Some factors that affect estate planning costs are out of your control - disability, bad luck, etc. But which factor is completely in your control? The biggest and simplest: PROCRASTINATION.
Planning now means more options
Planning while you are relatively healthy - no matter how old you are - means that you have all of the available options in front of you. You can consider the benefits of a trust or a will. You can customize a power of attorney. You can choose who provides assistance during incapacity or after death. You can engage an attorney in detailed conversation about your family, your values, your preferences, your fears, and your assets. You can choose. You maintain control.
Planning later means you're stuck
But if you have no plan and a crisis hits - disability, long-term care, divorce, family bad luck, death - then you have no control over your options. You will be stuck with court-controlled processes like guardianships and probates. You will have to deplete your assets to cover the costs of long-term care. You will not get to choose who is making financial or medical decisions for you. All of these choices are taken away from you and are controlled by others. You lose control.
Planning now means lower costs
Planning while you are relatively healthy means you decide how much you spend and how you pay. Because the choices are yours, you have the power to consider and negotiate costs. But if you wait until a crisis hits and it falls on your family or community to make decisions for you, your assets will have to be used to pay for much more expensive courses of action.
It always costs more to wait.
Planning in advance is not free, to be sure, but it is much less expensive than losing your assets to long-term care costs, guardianship proceedings, probate administrations, and any number of other things that could rob you of your choices and take assets away from you and your intended beneficiaries.